Japanese spacecraft touches down on asteroid to get samples

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Staff of the Hayabusa2 Project watch monitors for a safety check at the control room of the JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, on Feb. 21, 2019. (ISAS/JAXA via AP)
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This Oct. 25, 2018, image provided by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) shows asteroid Ryugu. (JAXA via AP)
Updated 22 February 2019
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Japanese spacecraft touches down on asteroid to get samples

  • Probe to fire a “bullet” into the asteroid’s surface to stir up surface matter, which the probe will then collect for analysis back on Earth
  • Scientists hope the samples may provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe

TOKYO: A Japanese spacecraft touched down on a distant asteroid Friday on a mission to collect material that could provide clues to the origin of the solar system and life on Earth.
Workers at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) control center applauded Friday as a signal sent from space indicated the Hayabusa2 spacecraft had touched down.
During the touchdown, Hayabusa2 is programmed to extend a pipe and shoot a pinball-like object into the asteroid to blow up material from beneath the surface. If that succeeds, the craft would then collect samples to eventually be sent back to Earth. Three such touchdowns are planned.
Japanese Education Minister Masahiko Shibayama said the space agency had concluded from its data after the first touchdown that the steps to collect samples were performed successfully.
JAXA, as the Japanese space agency is known, has likened the touchdown attempts to trying to land on a baseball mound from the spacecraft’s operating location of 20 kilometers (12 miles) above the asteroid.

Scientists hope the samples may provide answers to some fundamental questions about life and the universe, including whether elements from space helped give rise to life on Earth.

The asteroid, named Ryugu after an undersea palace in a Japanese folktale, is about 900 meters (3,000 feet) in diameter and 280 million kilometers (170 million miles) from Earth. It is thought to contain relatively large amounts of organic matter and water from some 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born.

 

 


Three people injured when car smashes into Trump Plaza lobby in New York suburb

Updated 31 sec ago

Three people injured when car smashes into Trump Plaza lobby in New York suburb

  • The luxury residential property in New Rochelle is not where US President Donald Trump and his family have a residence
  • Neither a representative for Trump’s properties nor the New Rochelle police were immediately available for comment

ATLANTA: A car plowed into the main hall of a Trump Plaza in suburban New York on Tuesday night, causing minor injuries to two bystanders and the driver, news media reported.

The luxury residential property in New Rochelle is not where US President Donald Trump and his family have a residence, but was widely reported by national media nonetheless.

A local ABC affiliate said the driver casually got out of his Mercedes-Benz C300 coupe and sat on the sofa in the building’s main hall after the crash at 9 pm in the city north of New York. The crash appeared to be an accident and the driver was being questioned by the police early Wednesday, NBC and other media reported.

There was nothing suspicious about the crash, New Rochelle police told local media. “We would like to thank the first responders for their swift attention to this evening’s incident,” a spokesperson for the Trump Organization said in an emailed statement to ABC News. “We are truly grateful to them for their service.”

Neither a representative for Trump’s properties nor the New Rochelle police were immediately available to Reuters early Wednesday for comment.